- Cats and the Art of Zen
Cats and the Art of Zen
Zen is a Chinese practice dating back centuries. It incorporates the practice of meditation to help achieve a peaceful, calm, and observant mind.
We think cats are the world's natural Zen masters. If you're interested in boosting your Zen practice, we suggest you look to your cat for inspiration.
Stay in the Moment
One of the basic tenets of Zen is mindfulness—staying in the moment, noticing what's going on, and not worrying about the future or thinking about the past. Being in the moment can enhance enjoyment of life and decrease anxiety.
Cats are fantastic at staying in the moment. One thing they do is use their intense stare.
Have you ever seen your cat focus on something, like you or a squirrel running around outside? Cats can really focus, barely blinking as they take in everything there is to experience in that moment.
Increase your own ability to "be here, now" through meditation, increasing your ability to focus without intruding thoughts.
Practice Yoga by Thinking in the Box
Yoga is a great practice for increasing your meditation ability and keeping a strong and healthy body. This is another area where cats excel. Don't believe us? Simply put a small cardboard box on the floor and watch your cat's extreme yoga abilities as he or she uses their ultra-flexible spine to fit inside.
Of course, people don't have that sort of spine, but we can still increase our flexibility over time through daily practice. And maybe we should try the box trick too. Our cats certainly seem to enjoy it.
Use Your Cat's Purr for Mood Music
Cats' purrs are so relaxing for people that we think you could use it as a background for your daily meditation practice.
And, since cats' purrs may help heal people's bodies, you may experience added benefits by curling up with your purring kitty for a while each day.
Don't Forget to Stretch Early and Often
Before you do your yoga or meditation, a good stretch is imperative. It gets your blood flowing and helps protect muscles, ligaments, and joints from injury.
Just watch your kitty. Felines are among the most athletic creatures on Earth, and they're also fantastic stretchers. They stretch when they wake up, before they sleep, and at all kinds of other random times in their day.
Learn to stretch and engage in the habit often to help improve your Zen.
Never Skimp on Sleep
Cats sleep upwards of 20 hours per day. They must know a thing or two about how good quality sleep improves the performance of the body and mind.
Of course, people don't need that much sleep, but we do need consistent sleep of good quality. So, follow your kitty's lead and make sleep a priority in your life.
Play may not be something you immediately associate with a Zen way of life. But engaging in playfulness routinely lightens your mood, feeds your spirit, and improves your outlook. It also relieves stress, which makes it easier to meditate.
This is yet another area where cats have cornered the market. They absolutely love to play.
Try making time for play each day in your life to improve your mood and ability to focus. You can engage in a hobby, sport, or favorite activity. You can even play with your cat, which will move both of you forward on the path of Zen.